Nona Ruth (Chelgren) Lemieux, 91, originally of Scobey Montana, peacefully finished her earthly journey on June 29, 2021 while resting in her present home of Klamath Falls, OR. She was born to loving parents Edgar and Ruth Chelgren on April 26th, 1930.
Soon after graduating from Richey High School in 1948, Nona married the love-of-her-life, Edgar Albert Lemieux and they made their first homes in Wolf Point, Havre and Great Falls, MT until 1963 when Edgar passed away due to cancer.
While the loss of a spouse at such a young age may have slowed some down, Mrs. Lemieux not only fought the good fight, but did it with unbridled courage and dignity. First in her life were God and then her children. Yet, there was always time for family and friends.
She soon moved the family to the Bozeman area where, while single-handedly raising her family, completed her Bachelor’s of Nursing with LPN and RN certification in 1966 when she began her first professional station. In order to spend summers with her children and be nearer her brother, Don, she then moved the whole kit-and-caboodle, ages 4-16, to the Puget Sound area where she completed a Masters at the University of Washington and continued her career. As a testament to her values for hard work and education, all of her children and many grandchildren have graduated from college and several have attained advanced degrees.
Mrs. Lemieux made her own way for herself and her family, establishing a secure home for her children and serving the education and/or medical needs of MANY communities, prompting brother-in-law Dona to remark, “Well Nona, if you haven’t taught your boys anything else, you have taught them how to pack a Uhaul.” And for cousin Dale Manternach to suggest that she “missed her calling” and “should have been a Real Estate Agent.”
Always ready to explore something new, Mrs. Lemieux continued to grow her professional record. She served as a Public Health Nurse in Helena, MT. ’66-’67 and in Miles City/Jordan, MT, ’73-’74; Professor: Pacific Lutheran University,’70-‘73; Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, OK, ’75-’76; Minot State College, ’76-’81; Lewis and Clark, College, Lewiston, ID, ’81-’82; University of North Dakota, ’82-’86; Montana State, Great Falls, MT, ’86-’87; Ogalala College, Pine Ridge, SD, 88-89.
Nona served as primarily a Professor of Psychiatric Nursing until 1989. But, in her final professional days, she returned to her first love, Geriatric Nursing and served by bouncing between the communities of Yakima, WA, Sydney, MT; Plentywood, MT; and Klamath Falls, OR until she retired in 2009 at 79 years old.
In retirement, Nona found joy in driving her RV between Oregon, Washington, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota in order to attend the many plays, concerts, baptisms, communions and sports events of her children and grandchildren. Ocassionally she’d even pause to set up a more permanent house to daycare a grandchild or two. No mile was too long when she wanted to be with her family or they needed her help.
Affectionately known to her children as “Nona C”, she had an incredible wry sense of humor and was decidedly independent! Even with this active career, Nona was an attentive mother and each of her children learned a strong commitment to God, family and striving to run their own “good race”.
She is survived by her children: Marilyn (Mark) Leinen, Wahpeton, ND; Gerald (Connie) Lemieux, Klamath Falls, OR; Brian (Jacquelyn) Lemieux, Brainerd, MN; Neil (Jeanette) Lemieux, Dillon, MT and Dana Lemieux, Yakima, WA. She is also survived by fifteen grandchildren, twenty-seven great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren. She was quite proud of that number. Nona also has many surviving nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Edgar; son, Stephen; parents, Edgar and Ruth; sister, Norma Lou and brother, Don.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, July 11, at O'Hair-Wards Funeral Chapel from 3 pm to 6 pm. Celebration funeral services will be held at 10 am Monday, July 12th, Klamath Lutheran Church, 1175 Crescent Ave, Klamath Falls. OR; and 10 am Saturday, July 24th Greenwood Cemetery, 730 Listerud Street, Wolf Point, MT.
Memorials can be made to, a favorite of Nona’s, West Valley Foursquare Church, “Osanidde Success Fund.” 5802 Summitview Ave #130, Yakima, WA 98908. https://www.wvfc.church/osanidde-success-fund.
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